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  • Writer's pictureElaine Marie Carnegie

The Writer's Journey with Poet Richard Tomlin

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

Richard Tomlin is our Guest Author this week. He is a poet from the beautiful state of Tennessee.

I'm not sure what would best describe me along my journey. I've always loved to read, even remembering as far back as five years old. I devoured books, any genre, theme, etc. I think my grandmother might be my Muse. She always encouraged me to read, to learn. She would tell my brother and I bed time stories when we were little and visiting with her. She was a farmer's wife, in a rural Southern community, only high school education, yet she was asked to teach the local one-room school for a year. In another time, another place, she could have been an educator and influencer.

Me, I am, and always have been very shy. An introvert, a wallflower, though, in these past few years, I've felt somewhat more socially comfortable. I definitely am not good at public speaking. I usually found that writing responses were a better method to communicate. I had time to think of what I wanted to say.

Honestly, I've never thought much about writing. Although, at my job in a rehab facility, I found interest in creativity as a recreational therapist. And, as a case manager, residential supervisor, I was always drafting reports, although I have a tendency to be verbose. I did try my hand at coming up with ideas for staff acts for our annual student/Staff talent shows; taking songs and devising skits for them. Also, the few years before I retired, I was trying to write my own Christmas themed poems, none of which were very good.

It wasn't until I joined Facebook two years ago, that I acquired the writing bug. I am not the most technologically astute person, and still, experience tech problems in operating a device... I don't even use a laptop, but a tablet...a big procrastinator.

Facebook opened a new world, putting me in touch with so many diverse individuals, cultures, and local happenings. Through communicating with a few writers, I tried my hand at poems and felt excited. I was encouraged to write, create a literary page, and join various writing groups, where I share my work with several other writers.

While encouraged to submit my poems to literary sites, I've been reluctant to. I lack confidence, although one day, I will.... every potential writer dreams about seeing their work recognized and appreciated. I've tried a few short stories, but poems are briefer, and don't require as much research, plotting, character/background development. So, I am starting slowly, and social media was the catapult for me.

Facebook is that library, that window into a world of stories: personal lives, experiences, opinions. International contacts and communication, news. Different cultures. Sites that entertain, inform, educate.

For now, writing poems is my hobby, my challenge to express myself through writing. Trying to come up with different styles and structures. The use of wordplay. So far, I've written close to, three hundred different kinds of poems, limericks and haikus. One day, I'll see what I'll do with them. My advice to other fledgling writers is to not give up. Join the Writing Groups and express yourself... The world is waiting to read your prose!

Here is a one of his!

From Richard: I originally wrote this one October 3, 2018. Inspired by the line in an article written by Rebecca Cooper in her blog, regarding empowering her daughters.

No Is a Complete Sentence

Teach your children well (from Crosby, Stills, Nash).

To both girls and boys.

That "no is a complete sentence."

There is only one right choice.

When someone says, "no."

That should be the only word needed.

Nothing else should have to be said.

When spoken by one, they should be heeded.

They shouldn't have to struggle, defend themselves.

Against harassment, abuse, violence, rape.

Everyone should be respected, body and soul.

Not have to worry about how much their dignity can take.

Be used, embarrassed, forced into unimaginable situations.

Too afraid to report, because they might be mocked.

Insulted, called liars, made into targets.

How many feel they are imprisoned, locked

In their own private Hell, emotionally isolated.

When all should understand "No is a complete sentence."

Too many think they can take advantage.

Who refuse to show respect; it's so completely senseless.

Listen up, you who are spiritually bankrupt, so morally tone deaf.

We, who were once beaten down, now are absolutely relentless.

It's time to teach you a lesson, you better listen.

We mean it, when saying, "No is a complete sentence."

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